The Fear the Walking Dead season 5 premiere contained a major reference to Rick Grimes' new story that will be shown in AMC's The Walking Dead movies that are currently being developed. A lot happened in The Walking Dead season 9, which is due to multiple time jumps which allowed the show to completely revamp itself, but one of the biggest events was undoubtedly Andrew Lincoln's highly publicized exit as Rick Grimes.
Considering that Rick was the star of The Walking Dead, something big had to happen for him to leave the spotlight. And so, instead of killing him off, as many people suspected the writers and producers would do, Rick was taken in a helicopter along with Jadis to an unknown location. It not only confirmed the "A" theory that had been floating around for a few years and somewhat resolved the mystery behind The Walking Dead's helicopter, but it also set the stage for a trilogy of new films. But it seems that Fear the Walking Dead may be getting a head start on that story.
In Fear the Walking Dead's season 5 premiere, "Here to Help", the plane that Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Morgan's (Lennie James) group were flying on had crash-landed, and while they were making their escape from the area, Al (Maggie Grace) came into contact with a fully-armored walker. Since she couldn't kill him, she immobilized him, only to return at the end of the episode because something wasn't sitting right with here. And that's when she discovered the three rings - a symbol that connects Fear the Walking Dead to Lincoln's upcoming Walking Dead movies.
After Al killed the walker and searched his body, she discovered a map and the three-rings symbol that closely resembles a bio-hazard sign. But while this person had turned into a walker, someone from that group knocked-out Al and took her away. Interestingly, when Rick and Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) were taken away in the mysterious helicopter in Rick's final episode on The Walking Dead in season 9, "What Comes After", a symbol with three rings appeared. And while that symbol hasn't popped up again on the flagship show, it seems that Fear the Walking Dead may be exploring that connection.
Scott Gimple, who oversees the entire Walking Dead franchise for AMC, recently said that a plot thread from The Walking Dead will continue on Fear the Walking Dead, and this might be that story. Whether this directly ties into the new Walking Dead movies or just explores the people who took Rick remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure, this is the start of the first real expansion of The Walking Dead universe since Fear the Walking Dead debuted four years ago.